The main task of the Coroner's Office is to determine both the medical and legal causes for deaths in York County with priority focused on sudden, suspicious as well as deaths that occur for no apparent reason. The Coroner is a County official whom is elected to serve a four-year term.
The Coroner, an elected constitutional officer, has jurisdiction over all deaths investigated by their office. Generally, the Coroner is responsible for investigating all suspicious and violent deaths, as well as all deaths that occur outside of a hospital or nursing home. In addition to the aforementioned scenarios, the Coroner / Coroner’s office is also responsible for investigation of all deaths that occur less than 24 hours after patients are admitted to the hospital as well as all emergency room deaths.
It is the sole responsibility and authority of the Coroner to determine the manner of death of every person who dies in York County or is injured in York County insofar as to result in death, regardless of the location of death, as it pertains to the injury. As circumstances warrant, the Coroner may retain the assistance of experts in the fields of anthropology, toxicology, odontology, entomology, radiology, photography, trace evidence collections and other fields of forensic science to assist in his or her investigation. Cause of death is determined by a pathologist or physician consulting with the Coroner. The Coroner has to determine and make the decision for natural, accidental, suicidal, or undetermined causes for death. The Coroner solely responsible for deciding when an autopsy will be performed and in many cases must witness the autopsy. The solicitor has the authority to request an autopsy.
It is the responsibility of the Coroner to see that all evidence at the scene of a death is preserved and all personal belongings of the decedent are safeguarded and returned to his/her family. When possible, the Coroner personally notifies relatives and loved ones of the unfortunate death. The Coroner works closely with all branches of the military regarding deaths and disasters and assumes joint investigation concerning any military personnel or military-department deaths occurring in York County.
In addition to the above responsibilities, the Coroner conducts inquests, issues burial removal permits, authorizes and issues cremation letters to parties of concern, signs death certificates, and maintains permanent records on every case.
If you need to report a death, call 9-1-1 immediately and answer all questions the 9-1-1 telecommunicator asks. 9-1-1 will then contact the coroner on-call to respond to the reported death.